The release of Gérard Bertrand’s new book, “Nature at Heart”, is a good opportunity to revisit the story of a Languedoc family passion that continues into the fourth generation.
It was in 1975, in the vineyards of Château de Villemajou, in the heart of the Corbières, that Gérard Bertrand put his foot in the stirrup by making his first harvest. For 12 years, he then continued his apprenticeship alongside his father Georges Bertrand. With that experience, the giant (literally and figuratively) then took over the family torch after the accidental death of his father in 1987. Creator of the Gérard Bertrand wine company in order to develop a range of wines from the South of France , the winegrower has never ceased to fight for nature to be at the heart of his profession by promoting organic and biodynamic agriculture.
The one who was destined for a career as a rugby player (he played as a third line wing at RC Narbonne, of which he became captain, and ended his sports career as captain of the Stade Français) referred to the unprecedented expansion of the family estate. In thirty years, the area has grown from 60 to 920 hectares cultivated biodynamically. The company now has 15 estates in Languedoc-Roussillon, whose wines are distributed in 150 countries.
“If I have a message to give it is that nothing is impossible. We put southern French wine on the world map when it wasn’t there and now we’re known as one of the most exciting regions on the planet in terms of wine quality. As St-Exupéry said: if you want to draw a straight furrow, hang your chariot on a star. – Gerard Bertrand
In his book Nature at Heart, Gérard Bertrand shares his life journey and his commitment to nature. To do this, he testifies to his dual experience as a winegrower and a business manager. Its focal points: ecosystems, respect for nature and the preservation of living soils.
“The 22-year-old Gérard Bertrand had dreams that today’s has realized, even going further than he hoped for. So it’s a satisfaction but also a chance to have had parents who always pushed me to see bigger and further, who taught me the values of work and who also educated me to know how to give a meaning to life. – Gerard Bertrand
Organic farming in Languedoc is obviously more favorable than in Bordeaux or Burgundy, where the climate sometimes gives the winegrower more trouble. Gérard Bertrand is aware of this: “Nothing is impossible, we always have challenges to take up in all the vineyards. In the end, it is always important to find the famous trilogy of adaptation between the soil, the climate and the grape varieties and that is revealed by the hand of man. So once we have found our way, we are happy. »
Bertrand who is a fan of old Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, (this is the Languedoc tradition), and who also likes to explore new avenues, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, is grooming the fourth family generation to manage the Languedoc empire . Emma and Matthias Bertrand are on track to follow the path traced by the family. “I want to help train them for the next 20 years if God gives me life, because it’s a job that takes time,” adds the father.
Three wines to taste the know-how of Gérard Bertrand
Gris blanc, 2021, Pays d’Oc, France
It almost looks like a white wine, the pallor of this rosé is so obvious. Grenache gris and grenache noir are on the menu of this cuvée from the Languedoc giant. Full of life and sunshine. Perfect for salad, barbecue and all summer long.
Côte des Roses, 2021, Languedoc, France
A fixtur summer after summer, year after year, with always or almost the same blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. Once again bursting with red fruits such as currants and some floral notes to seduce the consumer. Very versatile for the summer.
Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Tautavel Heritage Year 560, France
This Tautavel du Roussillon is not afraid of proposing its 15% alcohol. This big guy is rather well balanced. Grenache, Syrah and Carignan share the stage here and give pride of place to black fruits (blackcurrant, blackcurrant, blackcurrant!). It is the perfect companion to a good barbecue of steaks and grilled vegetables, (think red peppers), all with herbs de Provence. Uncomplicated, effective and at a good price.